Mastodon's Brent Hinds

Signal Chain: Boss TU-3 Tuner (split off), Ernie Ball volume pedal > Morley Bad Horsie wah > Boss GE-7 Graphic EQ > Morpheus DropTune > VMan Overdrive (custom) > Ibanez TS-808 > Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor > Boss DD-6 Digital Delay > Stereo Split Left (Boss RE-20 > Line 6 DL4 > Lee Jackson 4-Way Split > EbTech Hum Eliminator > Amps) OR Stereo Split Right (Boss RE-20 > Line 6 DL4 > Amp). Photo by Ken Settle

Hinds’ setup has been fairly constant, with the Line 6 DL4, Boss GE-7 Graphic EQ, Ibanez Tube Screamer, Boss DD-6 Digital Delay, and Boss RE-20 Space Echo comprising the band’s live tone for years. In 2009, Hinds added the Morpheus DropTune.

Hinds favors a TS-808 Tube Screamer with a JRC4558 chip for overdrive. He has a signature Monster Effects Mastortion pedal based on this version of the TS-808, but with more volume and low end. When we caught up with Hinds during the band’s tour in support of The Hunter, however, it was the trusty TS-808 on the board.

Photo by Chris Kies

Hinds described his approach to effects as simple: “Anything other than those effects or something with a lot of knobs and switches [laughs], I don’t know how to work! I want to be like Omar Rodr’guez-L—pez [guitarist of The Mars Volta and At the Drive-In] with tons of effects and pedals, but I don’t have the most patience in the world and I only have one foot to control my pedalboard.”

But he’s on his way. One newer addition to this board is the Morley Bad Horsie wah, used on the song “Dry Bone Valley.” Hinds joked, “Essentially, to be considered a bonafide guitarist you need to record one wah wah song … ‘Dry Bone Valley’ has this perfect swaggering, galloping vibe to the chorus and verses that leads right up the wah-solo perfectly.”

Of course, despite adding a pedal here and there, Hinds will likely never dive into a more complex setup and still prefers to get his chorus sounds a bit more naturally: with his 9- and 12-string guitars. He explains, “The octave strings create this ringing, atonal chorus effect unmatched by any chorus pedal. A 6-string and a pedal sounds stale in comparison.”